Best mid-range smartphones of 2020: 9 great mid-priced flagships


Which is the best mid-priced phone? 9 options we think you should take very seriously

Gone are the days when you’d have to buy the best phone going to have high-end features. Now mid-range phones are often the easiest devices to recommend as they pack the perfect combination of value and performance.

Here at Trusted Reviews, we have reviewed a load of phones we consider mid-range. This isn’t really down to features, but more down to their price All of these devices sit below the current crop of flagship-priced phones around the £1000 mark, yet we still think they offer a premium experience.

There are devices here, like the Pixel 5, that offer truly exceptional camera performance. You’ve also got the OnePlus 8T which is just as fast as any phone we’ve reviewed this year. There’s also the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE – quite possibly the best (and the cheapest) entry in the S20 series.

All the phones listed here have been fully reviewed by us – that means we’ve used it as our main smartphone, porting all the important stuff across and sticking our SIM inside. We look for more than just benchmarks, delving into the important real-world use of these devices too.

Related: iPhone 12 review

  • Best mid-range phone: OnePlus 8T
  • Best performance: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  • Best camera: Pixel 5
  • Best for cheap 5G: Moto Edge
  • Best for sub-£500 Google: Pixel 4a 5G
  • Best for Dual Screen: LG Velvet
  • Best for Apple: iPhone SE 2
  • Best screen on a budget: TCL 10 Pro
  • Best for megapixels: Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Related: Best iPhone Deals

1. OnePlus 8T

Another OnePlus winner


  • Fast
  • Great screen
  • Charges in 40 minutes


  • Secondary cameras aren’t that good
  • No IP
  • No Qi

There are a lot of great mid-range options available in 2020 – but our current favourite pick is the OnePlus 8T. It’s the perfect mix of price and features, with just about every aspect hitting the mark.

This is a truly fast phone, for a number of areas. First off performance is ace thanks to the Snapdragon 865 chip. 5G and up to 12GB RAM. This phone can game at 90fps with ease and handle everything you throw at it. It has a fast 120Hz OLED screen too and can charge from 0-100% in just 40 minutes.

The main 48MP camera is a capable shooter – though go for the Pixel 5 if the camera is key – and OnePlus has added an ultrawide lens alongside a macro and monochrome. Software is strong with Android 11 onboard and you’ll likely see speedy updates.

Some features have had to be cut to meet the price. There’s no IP rating and no wireless charging. Neither of which are dealbreakers.

2. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

All the best S20 features, just cheaper


  • Option of Snapdragon 865 in the UK
  • Lovely 120Hz panel
  • Nice array of colours


  • Secondary cameras aren’t great

£699 might be pushing the definition of mid-range, but when you’ve got flagships costing double that it’s just the situation we have found ourselves in. Thankfully, Samsung has crammed many of its best flagship features into the Galaxy S20 FE without sacrificing too much.

The highlights here include a really nice flat 120Hz OLED panel with punchy colours and deep blacks, 6GB of fast RAM and 128GB storage. You’ll also find a triple camera array on the back, which is headlined by a very good 12MP camera that’ll capture bright, detailed and intensely colourful snaps.

Samsung has also included a bevvy of features often ditched at this price, including Qi charging, an IP68 rating and expandable storage.

The real star of the show here is the Snapdragon 865 chipset (there’s also a 4G Exynos 990 version available for £100 less) which not only gives the FE better performance than other European versions of the S20, but better battery life too. There’s also 5G support.

Finally, you’ve got the design. This isn’t quite as high-end looking as the S20 as the back is tough plastic rather than glass. Still, the matte finish is attractive and it barely picks up any fingerprints. You can also pick it up in a range of nice colours, including a deep blue and striking red.

Pixel 5

3. Google Pixel 5

A simple Pixel


  • Best camera in this price
  • Great battery life
  • 90Hz screen


  • Design a bit bland
  • You get faster performance elsewhere

The Pixel 5 might be Google’s flagship product, but in terms of pricing it’s still a mid-range device. This £599 phone isn’t a performance champ like the OnePlus 8T, however it does have plenty going for it.

The camera, for example, is the best on this list. The 12MP main and 16MP ultra wide take ace shots, with lovely colours and fantastic HDR. For the price, this the best camera around.

There’s good, if not class-leading performance, from the Snapdragon 765G chipset and 8GB RAM, 5G and a lovely 90Hz OLED panel. Google has also kept around nice luxuries, like a metal body, IP rating and wireless charging. 

4. Motorola Edge

A great all-rounder with 5G


  • 5G
  • Nice screen
  • Great battery life
  • Motorola’s software is great


  • A little buggy
  • Curved screen can be irritating

While it is the Motorola Edge Plus that packs the true high-end specs, it is the Motorola Edge that feels the more interesting device. Like the OnePlus 8, the Edge provides 5G support and it’s one of the cheaper options currently available that offers this.

It’s a striking phone too, with a curved screen that droops heavily over the sides. While the curve is slightly annoying, the screen itself is good: FHD+, HDR10 and OLED.

Inside the phone there’s a very capable Snapdragon 765 chipset, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. You are missing out on an IP rating and wireless charging, though.

Battery life is great, as you’d expect from a 4500mAh cell.

You’ll find three cameras on the back and the 64-megapixel main sensor can take some really good snaps. Motorola continues its run of good software here too, with nice gestures and handy additions.

Pixel 4a 5G

5. Google Pixel 4a

A mix of the 4a and 5


  • Great camera that’s the same as the Pixel 5
  • Bigger display than Pixel 5
  • Good performance and 5G


  • Design a bit bland
  • The Pixel 5 isn’t much more and packs lots more features

Sitting bang in the middle of Google’s 2020 range of Pixel phones is the 4a 5G. It’s very much a mixture of the 4a and 5, with the design of the former and camera and 5G support of the latter.

It’s the biggest of the Pixels too, with a 6.2-inch display. This is an OLED panel and looks great, even if we do wish it had a 90Hz refresh rate. Other specs include 5G, a 765G Snapdragon chipset, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. It runs Android 11.

Battery life is good, but it’s the dual camera that really shines. It’s the same as the Pixel 5, with very detailed shots in all manner of conditions.

LG Velvet

6. LG Velvet

LG’s most tempting phone in ages


  • Much improved design
  • Big, bright and colourful screen
  • 5G
  • Headphone jack


  • Only a 60Hz screen
  • Some odd performance issues

The LG Velvet is LG’s latest attempt at an upper mid-range device and it’s one of its most tempting in years, thanks to a far improved design and the addition of 5G.

Like many phones we’ve seen this year, the Velvet is powered by the very capable Snapdragon 765G chipset. It’s not the faster around, especially when compared to the Galaxy S20 FE, but it’ll still get the job done. It also offers a 5G modem, so if you have the right network and contract you’ll benefit from those faster data speeds.

Other highlights include a big, bright and colourful display along with an actual 3.5m port for plugging in your headphones.You can even tack on the Dual Screen case to expand your view across two displays.

iphone SE 2 back

7. iPhone SE 2

a fast. and cheaper, iPhone


  • Fast
  • Good cameras
  • Great software


The iPhone SE 2 is a simple device. It looks very much like the iPhone 7 or 8, but it has the internals of the newer iPhones. It’s fast, packs a good camera and ok battery life.

What really sets it apart from other phones on this list in the size. This is a small phone, with a screen that’s easily controlled by one hand. There’s a physical TouchID home button too. It’s IP67 rated, packs wireless charging and comes in a lovely red colour.

8. TCL 10 Pro


  • High-quality design
  • Feels fast
  • Nice OLED display


  • Fairly poor low-light images
  • TCL interface needs tweaks
  • Battery underperforms

While the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge are two great phones, if you want to spend less the £399 TCL 10 Pro is a good choice.

This is one of the slickest phones on our list thanks to the great design and it’s also winner thanks to its strong OLED panel. The screen has vibrant colours, superb contrast and excellent brightness levels. It really is one of the best phone displays you’ll find at this price.

Not all is perfect with the TCL 10 Pro. We weren’t too impressed by the battery life and the software requires a little bit of tweaking to make it feel normal.

9. Xiaomi Mi Note 10

A lot of hardware at a value price


  • Smoothly curved glass front and back
  • Great zoom cameras
  • High-quality 108MP main sensor


  • Camera is slow
  • Protruding camera housing
  • Some software quirks
  • Low-light images aren’t best in class

The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a mid-range phone with some high-end device design traits. It packs five cameras, a main 108-megapixel sensor and a generously sized battery that lasts pretty well.

In some areas, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is made to the same standard as a phone costing twice as much. Its sides are metal, and both the front and rear of the device are substantial, curved pieces of glass. There’s no plastic border between the metal and glass, which is highly unusual for a phone costing less than £600.

The Mi Note 10 has a 6.47-inch screen, an OLED panel with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution – excellent for the money. You may find larger, but you won’t find much better, particularly if the curvy front appeals.

Day-to-day performance is technically sound, as you’d hope from a device with a good CPU and 6GB of RAM.

Most of the cameras that feature on the Mi Note 10’s rear are impressive. There’s a 2x zoom, a 3x zoom lens the phone crops into for 5x images, an ultra-wide and a dedicated macro. The macro sensor is the only real dud – in almost all situations the other cameras offer better results. Normal shots are packed full of detail; 108-megapixel shots even more so. The camera is unusually good at dealing with the light levels of tricky scenes such as sunsets. However, the camera is where you’ll discover the Xiaomi Mi Note 10’s most significant performance issues. It’s slow. There’s shutter lag of around half a second, and image processing takes a long time.

This isn’t the most polished smartphone on the market. The camera is slow, it isn’t the most attractive phone despite all that curved glass, and fingerprint scanner performance is poor. However, you do get plenty of hardware for your money and, despite its flaws, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 offers good value.

How do we select the best mid-range smartphones?

As with any of our other best mobile phone rankings, this list reflects the best that the current smartphone market has to offer, taking into account constraints such as price and feature set. To earn its place in our line-up, each phone undergoes a TR review – we slip in our SIM cards and use each phone as our main device solidly for a week at the very least.

We test claims on performance and battery life with both real-world and artificial benchmarks, trial new features and cast a careful eye over every advantage and flaw that these phones possess, to provide a clear, concise review of the latest smartphones and make your buying decision as easy as possible.

If you’re still unsure, check out our list of the best budget phones.

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Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.
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